Without a doubt, when compared to other competing digital marketing channels, e-mail is still king. This seemingly superlative statement is true for both customer engagement and conversion rates when it comes to both e-commerce sales and lead converting actions such as filling out contact forms and booking appointments.
Each year, as the newest digital marketing channel appears on the landscape, there is a natural bump in the effectiveness of using that channel. At first, engagement rates and conversion rates are high enough to rival or even surpass the e-mail channel, but soon enough all those channels fade in their effectiveness. This is otherwise known as The Law of Shitty Clickthroughs – made famous by famed Silicon Valley investor, Andrew Chen.
Now that we’ve established the significance and efficacy of e-mail as a marketing channel, let’s look at the benefits of what it can do for your Optometry clinic:
- Can lead to the acquisition of new customers
- Additional customer participation in events and promotions
- Word of mouth marketing
- Use it as a competitive advantage over competitors that are not using e-mail marketing as an active channel.
- Can breed loyalty with your existing customers/patients.
- Increase average revenue per customer
- Grows value in your business if you ever want to sell it as an extensive, engaged e-mail list will hold a tremendous amount of value for your potential buyer
- Easier to roll out new products or services by having a direct line of communication to those interested in hearing from you.
- Reduces overall marketing costs, as the marginal cost for reaching additional contacts on your list is virtually zero.
Collecting Emails and Managing Your Lists
In the course of your day-to-day operations, it’s important to find every opportunity to collect email addresses from your customers and patients. This activity can take the form of various collection methods including:
- In-clinic customer / patient registration
- In-clinic customer follow-up appointments
- Through your website
- Through your social media channels
- Through printed materials encouraging people to sign-up
- Through in-clinic Wi-Fi promos/ads
- Events / tradeshows where you collect email addresses in exchange for a prize / information / etc.
- Sponsoring other events where you collectively receive the emails of attendees
- Contact form submissions
When collecting your e-mails, you need to strike a balance between asking your optical customers/patients for enough information alongside their email addresses and asking for too much. This will largely depend on the place that you’re asking them for their email address. When registering a patient/customer in person, it’s appropriate to ask them for several pieces of information, including their physical address, etc. However, when asking for their email address through other means, such as on your website, you’re not likely going to be asking them for more than just their email. This is because the primary action you want them to take is to give you their email address, and asking for any additional information in a website transaction is most likely to result in them not signing up in the first place.
So why ask for additional information from your optical patients and customers? It’s so that you can perform proper segmentation of your email list. Imagine having the power to discover who, exactly, purchase a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses from you within the last two years? Or perhaps you’d like to know everyone on your list that has not come in for an eye exam in the previous 2 years and also purchased a pair of glasses? There is a tremendous value to be unlocked in being able to slice and dice your email lists to send targeted emails to those on your list that meet a particular set of criteria in order for them to perform a specific conversion action such as purchasing something new or merely booking a new appointment.
Some of your customers and patients will be wary of giving out their email addresses as many consumers are hesitant to further pollute their inboxes at a time when they already have trouble managing their email. It’s your job to come up with creative solutions to this problem. They can include but should not be limited to the following:
- Incentivize your customer/patient with a reason to give you their email address in the first place, be it better communication with your clinic (being able to book appointments with your clinic directly by email), or a small giveaway (think $5 gift cards to your local coffee shop).
How You Should Be Using Your Email List
How exactly you use your email list of patients/customers and potential customers depends on a few factors including how you’ve segmented them, and what your e-mail collection methods were. That said, it’s safe to assume you can probably use your email list to perform most if not all of the following e-mail marketing campaigns:
- A regular monthly newsletter (a monthly cadence seems to be about right for most Optical clinics)
- Announcing special promotions
- Announcing clinic updates (new equipment, new doctors, new staff)
- Advertising new products or services
- Informing customers/patients about staff changes, additions
- Thank you notes
- Appointment reminders
- Contest/giveaway announcements
- Press mentions
- New blog posts
Bonus Optical Clinic E-Mail Marketing Ideas
The Elite Club
Why not create an exclusive email list that you offer only to some of your best patients/customers. Give it a cool branded name that will make them feel special to be on it. This email list is designed for your most profitable customers (you know who those are right?) and will allow you to promote things like:
- Private Events
- Special discounts (only available to this group)
- Unique glasses/frames only available to this group
- Rare accessories only available to this group
- Special prize draws/contests
Use Lead Magnets to Gather More Email Addresses
As previously stated herein, sometimes getting email addresses from people interested in your clinic’s services or products can be tough, that’s why it’s good to sweeten the pot so-to-speak with an offer that will entice that email address out of them. This is where creating lead magnets and landing pages comes in. You offer them something of value in return for their email address. Here are just a few examples:
- A landing page with an eye health checklist/quiz – This page can directly lead your potential customer to book an appointment with you if the quiz determines that they are likely to benefit from an eye exam.
- A landing page with a free report or resource, e.g. Things to Consider When Choosing an Optometrist.
Don’t forget that having someone’s email address, especially one that gave you explicit permission to promote to them is extremely valuable. It holds a tremendous opportunity for you to use in a manner that does not exploit your customer’s trust by abusing the email with irrelevant offers or promotional emails sent at an inappropriate frequency.
If all of this makes sense, but you need someone to help you implement a robust email marketing strategy for your optical clinic, don’t hesitate to contact our digital marketing agency – Rocket Focus for a free consultation.